News and analysis from The Center for Michigan •
©2015 Bridge Michigan. All Rights Reserved. • Join us online at

Original article URL:

25 February 2013

* Michigan electric generators are on track to reach the 10 percent renewable energy standard set forth in state law, says the Public Service Commission. And under provisions of that law, Michigan will have established a floor of no less than 10 percent renewable power for the future, though the PSC thinks the figure will keep going up: “The amount of renewable energy generated during each year is expected to continue increasing after 2015 because electric providers’ current renewable energy plans show continued development of additional renewable energy projects.”

Other notable findings:

– Wind is the dominant choice for renewable power, at 93.8 percent of the renewable capacity.

– Prices for large-scale wind contracts are trending down.

– Wind power is cheaper than new coal-fired generation, under the PSC’s calculations.

– The “cost” of conserving energy through conservation methods (think insulation, as one prosaic example) is $20 per MWH – or a quarter of the average cost of a renewable MWH and about 1/6th the cost of a coal-fired MWH.

It will be interesting to see if this report and other information on renewable and energy conservation pricing trends affect policy-making at the State Capitol.

* Bridge reported recently on the economic advance in the Traverse City region. Much was made of the community’s entrepreneurial culture.  But could another e-word – education – be more important?

According to these figures from the 2011 American Community Survey, Traverse City has 27.2 percent of residents age 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree; 12 percent have a graduate or professional degree. Compare those figures to other Michigan metropolitan and micropolitan areas:

Ann Arbor — 50.9, 25.9

Battle Creek — 17.8, 6.4

Bay City — 18.8, 5.4

Detroit/Warren/Livonia — 27.8, 10.2

Flint — 18.1, 6.4

Grand Rapids/Wyoming — 27.8, 9.7

Holland/Grand Haven — 29.6, 10.1

Jackson – 18.5, 6.2

Kalamazoo/Portage — 29.3, 11.0

Lansing/East Lansing — 31.0, 13.0

Marquette — 25.2, 7.1

Midland — 31.6, 12.9

Monroe — 17.4, 7.4

Mt. Pleasant — 25.0, 11.6

Muskegon/Norton Shores — 17.7, 5.7

Niles/Benton Harbor — 24.1, 9.9

Owosso — 14.3, 4.8

Saginaw/Saginaw Township – 19.9, 6.1

Note the grad/pro results. TC’s percentage is higher than any other smaller community in Michigan, except Midland (home to Dow Chemical). TC’s percentage also exceeds or rivals figures in large college communities such as Mt. Pleasant (CMU), Kalamazoo (WMU), Lansing-East Lansing (MSU) and Marquette (NMU).

* This is a pretty good deal – free breakfast, free lunch and the opportunity to hear key players discuss how Michigan can revamp its economy to take advantage of its natural resources, its universities and its scientific know-how. Sponsored by Business Leaders for Michigan, the “New Michigan Summit” will be in Lansing on March 11.

* Another wonderful by-product of climate change – expanding ranges for alligators. “The northernmost point of their range in the wild is traditionally thought to be in North Carolina, about a dozen miles from the border with Virginia. But it wouldn’t take much of a temperature shift to allow them to move north. In fact, they have probably already slunk into the Commonwealth.”

* As for changing temperature zones, take a look at this plant hardiness mapfrom the U.S. Department of Agriculture: “Compared to the 1990 version, zone boundaries in this edition of the map have shifted in many areas. The new map is generally one 5-degree Fahrenheit half-zone warmer than the previous map throughout much of the United States. This is mostly a result of using temperature data from a longer and more recent time period; the new map uses data measured at weather stations during the 30-year period 1976-2005. In contrast, the 1990 map was based on temperature data from only a 13-year period of 1974-1986.” An older version of the map can be found here.

No comment yet.Add mine!

Leave your comment...

Your email address will not be published.

Currently on Bridge

Todd Courser hits Lansing like a cannonball

Will we be better off if Proposal 1 passes? Former treasurer says yes

An Earth Day pitch: When you hang up the phone for good, toss it the right way

Michigan’s roads affect everyone, so a 'yes' vote on Proposal 1 makes sense

‘Diplomacy Begins Here’ conference aims to illuminate international relations

What NOT to post on Facebook: Jokes about prison rape, when you’re in charge of preventing prison rape

A program to give young offenders a second chance is sending many to prison

Similar accounts in suit over alleged teen prison rapes pose challenge to state's defense

‘New fish’ ‒ One teen inmate’s account of alleged sexual assault

Early learning summit in June could impact Michigan’s children

Money Smart Week: Be penny wise, and pound savvier

Plan B or no Plan B, here’s what happens if road proposal fails

The political tale behind the selling of Proposal 1

A Bridge primer: Untangling the pothole promise of Proposal 1

Who supports, and opposes, Proposal 1

Let's rebuild Michigan through its greatest asset: its water

Could a public boarding school model work in Detroit?

Coalition supporting Detroit schools a step in the city’s road back

Chasing fads? Today’s schools are struggling too much for that

For one Michigan legislative staffer, an hour or two in the spotlight

A cull is a kill, and it’s an overreaction to deer ‘problem’

Lack of college guidance keeps poor and rural students from applying

Those who can, do – and get their hands ‘dirty’ in the process

For one Detroit mom, a complicated path to employment

Detroit by the numbers – the truth about poverty

Michigan should require dental screening for all children entering kindergarten

Where in the world is the Center for Michigan?

After two years, hard to call ACA anything but a success

Bridge’s Academic State Champs emphasizes all the wrong measurements

A graying population poses challenges for Up North counties

Up North, isolation impedes health care for seniors

Enbridge oil pipes and the Straits of Mackinac: Too risky to ignore

Not bigger government, but better services when Community Health and Human Services merge

Two Michigans gaze across a widening gap

In northern counties, workers and business find each other lacking

Hidden poverty stalks a Pure Michigan setting

Postcard: How a git-’er-done spirit helps one rural school district

Postcard: When elk is for dinner

Postcard: Luxe life at Bay Harbor reflects changing economy

Postcard: A roof and a bed

Invest in non-partisan journalism.

Donate to The Center for Michigan. Find out why.